Concrete retaining walls do not have to look dull. A reputable walling contractor should be able to supply a design, or one endorsed by an engineer, for a retaining wall that is pleasing to look at and complementary to the landscape it is placed in.
Holger Rust, the owner of Terraforce, a Cape Town based concrete block business, has watched the industry change steadily over the last 35 years. “It is encouraging that step by step, designers, developers and installers are moving towards a more aesthetically pleasing, living built environment. Many parties worldwide have been promoting these ideas and we at Terraforce understand that our contribution was and is miniscule. We are glad though that we did not bungle along in the wrong direction.”
A good example for simple, yet good design is the featured family garden that was designed in a sustainable and attractive fashion. Simon van Blerk of Decorton, a Terraforce-approved contractor, says: “I was contacted by this family for some advice on enhancing the recreational appeal of their back garden.
“The proposal and quotation were accepted and weeks later the family had a significantly transformed garden to enjoy. Apart from the meandering terrace walls in a rock-face finish, two small sets of steps were installed. In this manner safe and easy access was provided to a raised area of the garden. The maintenance of level platforms is easy, compared to mowing on the slope, as any gardener will confirm.”
Van Blerk says the small curved set of stairs next to the pool, rounded to match the adjacent terrace walls that were packed in a circular shape, is of particular interest. “Installed on a concrete foundation and filled from the side with a fairly dry concrete mix that was compacted with a pick handle, the blocks were fanned out only slightly so that the gaps that opened up between the blocks towards the back were hardly noticeable.”
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